"Thanks to all at East Surrey for their care during our baby's birth"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

We married later in life and were at the end of our fertile years but decided that we both wanted to have a family together. We discussed this possibility with our consultant at The Parkside hospital in Wimbledon who told us that ‘anything these days is possible with medical intervention’ and that we were by no means too old and should try.

Off we went to Spain and had six months of treatment to no avail. We then tried here at the London Women’s Clinic and had a further couple of treatments. None of them worked. We trawled the internet one day in desperation, just putting in things like ‘how many treatments do we have to have to have our dream baby? ’.....a clinic in Athens kept flashing at us, so off we went. We had immunes tested, a thorough hysteroscopy and first transfer of embryos...Bingo; I was pregnant with twins, what could be better. We were over the moon; the twins were due in October 2011.

In June 2011, at 23 weeks gestation my membranes ruptured and I was rushed to Kingston Hospital where I gave birth to our beautiful boys, they never breathed. The silence in the delivery room was deafening. The end of our dream and almost the end of us, our grief was unbearable.

We went back to Athens for a further 8 treatments and were told by the consultant when we were about to embark on number 9 that our trying for a baby days are at an end. They suggested surrogacy, something we had thought about after all attempts with us had failed.

We joined a surrogacy agency at the beginning of 2013 and waited. We thought that we would cover all angles and so also joined an on line surrogate finder site. This is where we found our surrogate Mum, who had had a similar loss to us in the past also with twins and now has lovely boys of her own. She has provided this service/gift twice before. We built up a friendship with our surrogate mum and her family. We took her to Athens four times in total, one of which was for the type of hysteroscopy that I had had to have ‘a general clear out’ of the oven. Third embryo transfer one of our precious embryos took and she was pregnant in February of this year.

Her pregnancy has been the longest and most stressful of all. With every nerve racking scan, every nail biting gestational diabetic nurse appointment, the trip and overnight hospital stay in Chertsey, as they thought her membranes had also gone at 31 weeks.. But she made it to the planned C section in October 2014, and what a day.

As she lives in Redhill around the corner from The East Surrey Hospital it seemed the best choice and we have to say we have no regrets. We went to all of the early scans, blood tests, midwife appointments (Zita, who made our visits enjoyable and fun but took every concern of mine very seriously, and there were always a few as I was always so nervous that history would repeat itself and we would lose the baby) and from day one where our papers were highlighted ‘Surrogacy’ we have had total respect from every member of staff as the parents of the baby. The Consultants Miss Gourti and Mr Penny very much spoke to us and discussed with us, as well as Jane, the birth mother all aspects of the pregnancy. The diabetic nurse (as I write this I cannot remember her name) also made the visits to her fun but made sure that at every step of the way our surrogate mum knew the seriousness of gestational diabetes and praised her for the way she was keeping the charts and trying her best to keep is stable, the encouragement was very much needed.

I met very early on Alexis Ozmen as I had shown an interest in inducing lactation in the hope of breast feeding our baby. We had complete support from Alexis, from having sympathy and showing compassion with our past loss to respecting our wishes and demands for privacy in every step of the way. We very early on requested that we don’t become a freak show as I don’t believe East Surrey has had that many surrogacy cases. Alexis worked hard to ensure, with Maureen that we had two side rooms booked for after the birth, one for our surrogate mum, because obviously she didn’t want to be surrounded by Mums and their babies, and one for us to have the precious time to bond with our baby.

Alexis was there at the birth with us, sadly not in theatre but outside waiting with the equipment so that I could encourage baby to feed from me with the supplimenter. Every time the door swung open and closed when we were in theatre I could see her outside smiling and giving looks of reassurance. As you probably gather by now Alexis is very close to our hearts, you don’t get many of her to the pound, truly a unique and beautiful person.

One of the people who also stood out amongst the crowd was Heather Dewhurst, the midwife who booked us in that morning and who was also in theatre and helped us in the recovery room, again a woman of great warmth who couldn't do enough for us all. She called me in theatre to cut the cord, something I had wanted to do and she made sure it happened. For her, along with two very nice anaesthetists and a whole other group of friendly and kind staff, nothing was too much trouble and you could visibly see they wanted to make it a beautiful experience for us. There was a moment where our surrogate mum's blood pressure dropped very low and we were worried about her, they showed their professional sides and showed no concern, just calm matter of fact ‘it’s all under control and all will be well’.

After our daughter (am I really saying that word?!) was born we then stayed on Burstow for three nights, mainly because the C section had taken it’s toll on our surrogate mum and she had to be pain controlled. It was like staying in a hotel with our new baby for us, again we were treated beautifully by all the midwives and staff (I so wish I could remember all names), nothing was too much, every eventuality catered for. We were treated no differently to as if I had given birth. We had a giggle with staff and our baby was in good and safe hands.

We lost our boys in Kingston hospital, where the service and treatment was so very different. We have to say for those of you managing the staff at East Surrey hospital you should be very proud of such a dedicated and caring team, we have not experienced better. Paying privately may have given us a garnish on every meal plate but this type of dedication money can’t buy.

Thank you so much, a priceless experience made possible by your staff.

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Response from Tasha Gardner, Communications Manager, Marketing and Communications, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Foxymeg

Many thanks for sharing your incredibly moving story. I am so delighted to read after all that you have been through that you are now the proud mother of a baby girl.

It is also lovely to hear that so many of our staff gave you and your surrogate the support and help you both needed and made sure you had your priceless experience. I will make sure your kind comments are shared with them all.

Best wishes to you and your family


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